Dr. Cathy Chargualaf CSC, DCH, Ph.D. 

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The 3-Phase Process: a Structure for Organizational Change

Posted on May 6, 2018 at 6:35 PM

The 3-Phase Process: a Structure for Organizational Change


Phase 1 change management process methodology

This process is built in three phases that a project or change manager can work through for the changes and initiatives they are supporting. The methodology includes research-based assessments and templates to support each phase, as well as guidance for completing each step most effectively.


1. Preparing for change

The first phase in Prosci's methodology helps change and project teams prepare for designing their change management plans. It answers these questions:

"How much change management does this project need?"

“Who is impacted by this initiative and in what ways?”

“Who are the sponsors we need to be involved to make this initiative successful?”

The first phase provides the situational awareness that is critical for creating effective change management plans. The outputs of this phase are:

1. Change characteristics profile

This provides insight into the change at hand, its size, scope and impact.

2. Oganizational attributes profile

This gives a view of the organization and groups that are being impacted and any specific attributes that may contribute to challenges when changing.

3. Change management team structure

This structure defines how many change management resources are needed for the effort and where they are positioned in relationship to the project team and project sponsor

4. Sponsor assessment, structure and roles

This provides an understanding of the leaders across the organization who will need to act as sponsors of the change. Here we also identify possible challenges with certain leaders and start to formulate plans to get those leaders on board and actively sponsoring the change.

5. Impact assessment

This assessment identifies the groups of individuals being impacted by the change, in what ways they are being impacted, and unique challenges you may face with this group in the project.

6. Change management strategy

Based on the assessments in this phase, a strategy that scales the change management effort to align with the type and size of the change is articulated.


2. Managing change

Phase 2 in the 3-phase change process

The second phase focuses on creating plans that will integrate with the project plan. These change management plans articulate the steps that you can take to support the individual people being impacted by the project. This is what people typically think of when they talk about change management. Based on Prosci's research, there are five plans that support help individuals moving through the ADKAR Model:

1. Communication plan

Communications are a critical part of the change process. This plan articulates key messages that need to go to various impacted audience. It also accounts for who will send the messages and when, ensuring employees are hearing messages about the change from the people who have credibility with them and at the right time.

2. Sponsor roadmap

The sponsor roadmap outlines the actions needed from the project’s primary sponsor and the coalition of sponsors across the business. In order to help executives be active and visible sponsors of the change, we provide details on when and where we need leaders to be present, what communications they should send, and which peers across the coalition they need to align with to support the change.

3. Training plan

Training is a required part of most changes, and is critical to help people build the knowledge and ability they need to work in a new way. The training plan identifies who will need what training and when. It is important that the training plan be sequenced in a way that allows for awareness and desire building before they are sent to training.

4. Coaching plan

The coaching plan outlines how you will engage with and equip managers and people leaders to lead the change with their own teams. Managers can play a significant role in aiding the change management efforts, but they need to be engaged as employees themselves first and allowed to work through their own change process. Then you can give them the information and tools to lead the same change process with their own teams.

5. Resistance management plan

The resistance management plan provides a strategy for both proactively and reactively addressing resistance. At the outset of a project, anticipated areas of resistance can be identified and proactively planned for: specific activities targeted at potentially resistant groups. This can head off resistance before it becomes a problem. The resistance management plan should also include the process and plan for identifying, understanding, and addressing resistance that comes up throughout the life of the project.


3. Reinforcing change

phase 3 in the 3-phase change processEqually critical but most often overlooked, the third phase helps you create specific action plans for ensuring that the change is sustained. In this phase, project and change teams develop measures and mechanisms to measure how well the change is taking hold, to the see if employees are actually doing their jobs the new way, to identify and correct gaps and to celebrate success. This includes:

1. Measuring changes in behavior

As the change is being implemented and the solution of the project is going live, it is important to establish measures to see if people are actually doing their jobs in a new way. These measures will be unique to each project and based on what new behaviors are required of employees in the changed state.

2. Corrective action plans

If gaps are identified and people are not fully adopting and using the new way of working, the change and project team must take action to correct those gaps. It is important to remember ADKAR in this phase and identify accurately why people may not be embracing the change and address the root cause of the gap.

3. Reinforcement mechanisms

Because people are physiologically wired for habit, it is common that even though people may change successfully, they will revert to their old habits unless there are specific measures in place to prevent them from doing so. Reinforcement mechanisms can include continued compliance measuring, ongoing training and coaching.

4. Individual and group recognition approaches

It is vitally important to recognize the hard work people have put in to embracing change. Every person and organization is different, so it is important to look for means of recognition that will resonate with the individuals.

5. Success celebrations

In addition to recognizing the achievements of individuals and groups who have changed successfully, it is important to publically highlight the success of the initiative and provide opportunity to celebrate the hard work that went into getting to a new future state.

6. After-action review

As is common in project management, an after-action review of the change management efforts helps to identify strengths of the change effort to be replicated in future projects, as well as areas where different action should be taken next time to drive a more successful outcome.


Categories: Managing Change